I have recommend a number of apps in the past as Android alternatives to Siri. However, those recommendations were before 'Google Now'. I will imagine in the future, as Google Now enabled devices become more prevalent that Android users will begin to utilise voice recognition / virtual assistant software in a far more prominent manner.
Of course, Google Now isn't perfect, so there is plenty of room in the Android ecosystem for alternatives., In fact, I think for the immediate future, more Android users will rely on alternate virtual assistants, due largely to the fact that barely anyone currently has a Jelly Bean / Google Now device!
Enter Maluuba. Maluuba attempts (and largely succeeds) at taking and improving everything that Siri, Vlingo, Speaktoit Assistant, etc are capable of, claiming to be a 'next generation' personal assistant application. Does it succeed? In my opinion - Yes.
The most striking thing that people will notice once they install Maluuba (or simply look at the below screenshots), is that the interface is heavily inspired my Windows 7/8 and the Metro UI. I personally love the simplicity, with everything in the app easily accessible. The colors are crisp and bright, and the overall appearance is very clean. Interaction with the app can occur entirely by typing (instead of talking), and functionality can be browsed through 'traditional tapping' by swiping left and right through the various screens.
At the end of the day though, people will not be installing apps such as this for how good it is to 'touch' - the real test is whether the app is good to interact with verbally. In this regard, Maluuba excels. On launching the app, a simple white screen with the words "just ask" appear. At the press of a button the user can then ask their request (or type if they desire). On speaking a great wavelength animation shows that your voice is being registered by the device.
So what can you actually do with Maluuba? The usual social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare) can be accessed directly from the app, the weather can be located, movies can be found, directions can be provided, calendar events can be booked and importantly, all your general knowledge questions can be answered. This latter function is heavily assisted by the inclusion of Wolfram Alpha, a function that helps set Maluuba apart from its competitors.
All in all, Maluuba is a great android application, and well worth the download. It is currently only available in the US and Canada, but the developer is actively looking to expand the supported countries - so stay tuned!
In the words of the developer:
The next generation of voice enabled personal assistant apps to challenge Siri and VLingo! The Maluuba "do engine" helps you search for local businesses, organize your calendar, alarms and reminders, and share great concerts and movies with your friends.